Illustrated by Ana Clark

I was born in a bathtub in Rio de Janeiro and ever since I’ve loved being in water. There’s something about the stillness yet overwhelming power that feels comforting during complicated times. This year has been difficult – struggling with past trauma and trying to figure out a new normal, but what I was reminded of was my relationship to water & the sea. It has become the narrative of my life and defined the way I want to live. 

It all began when things were getting too overwhelming and I ran away to be with friends for New Years – following a Brazilian tradition, we jumped 7 waves. The thing is, jumping into the ocean during summer in Brazil isn’t too bad; jumping into the ocean during winter in England, is a whole other story. Nevertheless, we faced the challenge and it felt amazing. The relief I felt diving into the icy water completely renewed my energies for the new year, even though I knew I had a long recovery journey ahead, jumping those waves pushed me to the right direction. 

A few months later, I began feeling isolated from my family, as if they didn’t care about my struggles. However, when I reached out to my mother to tell her these feelings, she found time in her busy schedule and came to see me. Since moving to the UK, it’s been our tradition to go on walks (not really long we enjoy them) So, we thought we’d walk along the Jurassic coast and have our time to talk. 

Between tears, angry remarks and laughter, we were taking in the incredible landscape that surrounded us. Moving away from Durdle Door towards Weymouth, we faced the rolling hills with eroded paths of previous amblers.

The walk was luckily empty which meant that we could talk freely, allowing us to release our bottled-up thoughts and emotions, which were captured and blown away by the wind. During the summer, I finally began to find a new normal until I decided it would be a good idea to return to Rio, a place I used to call my home, which I hadn’t returned to in 3 years. Fair to say, it wasn’t the best idea at that moment. When I left, I had this funny thought that everything would remain the same and throughout the years I didn’t really give it much thought. As I was about to land, I hadn’t thought whether things had changed, or I had changed; would I even like it anymore? Suddenly what was going to be a relaxing trip down memory lane shifted to a sad realization that my home, as I had remembered; subconsciously relied on always being there, wasn’t the same. Friends had moved on; our home was rented out and people seemed different. 

It was a lot to take in, especially after the year I had. I felt disappointed in my naivety for believing that things stand still, and it took time to get used to the idea that home, as I knew it, doesn’t exist and hasn’t for
a while. But, whilst floating in the ocean that I had swam in as little girl, I realized that that’s ok – that who I am today doesn’t associate Rio with being my home anymore. Instead I know I can go anywhere in the world, float in the water and be ok. Being in the sea is a reminder of the simplicity that life can be if you don’t get caught up in all the little things.  It’s just you and the water; nothing else matters.

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